NORFOLK, Va., Sept. 11, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Virginia’s 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution, in partnership with Norfolk State University will host the 1619: Making of America Summit on September 25 – 28, 2019 in Norfolk, VA. The multi-day event will explore the 400-year journey of our nation’s founding cultures—Native, African, and English peoples, immigrant stories, and the contributions and influences that have shaped the creation of today’s America.

2019 Commemoration AMERICAN EVOLUTION (PRNewsfoto/2019 Commemoration) (PRNewsfoto/2019 Commemoration)

At the foundation of this cross-cultural event will be the question: «Who are we as Americans?» Scholars, thought leaders, artists, filmmakers, dignitaries, and students will delve into America’s current and historic narratives with a lens towards telling more inclusive narratives and perspectives on the future. Keynote addresses, roundtable conversations, breakout sessions, and panel discussions will take place throughout each day of the summit.

Discussion themes include, «Finding America’s Roots,» «America’s Narrative Reframed,» «America’s Future: Citizenship and The Law,» and «Reimagining Representations of People of Color.» Entertainment at the summit includes a screening of the films «Ghosts of Amistad,» and «Rumble: Indians Who Rocked the World,» the live stage play, «Gem of the Ocean,» and a musical performance, «Musical Performance «Voices Raised in Harmony.»

Summit attendees will also see the premiere of the four-part docuseries «400 Years Later…’free-ish,» created to raise awareness about the 400 Year Commemoration of the first Africans that arrived in Virginia in 1619 and the continuing legacy of racial inequity that still exists today.  Nate Parker Foundation’s HBCU Storytellers Project provides students the opportunity to learn the art of filmmaking while receiving a culturally enriching educational experience that prepares them to use film as a vehicle racial healing and reconciliation. Student participants from Hampton University, Virginia State University, Virginia Union University, and Norfolk State University engaged in an 18-month process that empowered them to create the docuseries «400 Years Later…’free-ish.»

Registration for the summit is now open here; options are as follows:

  • Full Summit Registration
    • Fee: $20
    • Wednesday, September 25: Welcome reception, HBCU Storytellers film premiere and pre-film discussion
    • Thursday, September 26: All sessions taking place, choice of afternoon breakout session, lunch, choice of evening entertainment
    • Friday, September 27: All sessions taking place, lunch, film screening and conversation of «Ghosts of Amistad»
  • One-Day Summit Registration
    • Fee: $10
    • All sessions, lunch and entertainment for selected date
  • Complementary Student Registration
    • Wednesday, September 25: HBCU Storytellers film premiere and pre-film discussion
    • Thursday, September 26 and/or Friday, September 27: All daytime sessions
    • Thursday, September 26: Choice of breakout session and evening entertainment
    • Free Student Registration does not include: Welcome reception and lunches. Students will be required to show a valid and current student ID.
  • Registration add-on
    • Saturday, September 28, 2019: 2019 Making of America Tour
    • $25 per person – Includes round-trip transportation, attraction admission, snacks, and lunch.

The 1619: Making of America Summit speakers include:

  • Dr. Stephanie J. Richmond, Associate Professor of History Norfolk State University
  • Kathy Spangler, Executive Director, 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution
  • Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston, President, Norfolk State University
  • Dr. Cassandra Newby-Alexander, Dean, Norfolk State University
  • Juan Williams, New York Times Best-Selling Author, Fox News Political Analyst & Award-Winning Columnist
  • Justin E. Fairfax, Lt. Governor of Virginia
  • Robert F. McDonnell, former Governor of Virginia
  • Mia Love, Former Representative, 4th Congressional District of Utah
  • Nate Parker, Actor, writer, director and producer
  • Brian Favors, Co-Founder Nate Parker Foundation
  • Dr. Rex M. Ellis, Former Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs at the National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • Edward L. Ayers, Professor, University of Richmond
  • David Bearinger, Director of Grants and Community Programs, Virginia Foundation for Humanities
  • Professor Michael A. Gomez, Silver Professor of History and Middle East and Islamic Studies, New York University
  • Barbara Hamm Lee, Executive Producer/Host, Another View, 89.5 WHRV-FM/WHRO Public Media
  • Lynette Allston, Chief, Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia
  • Jennifer L. McClellan, Virginia State Senator
  • Catherine Bainbridge, Co-Founder, Director, Producer, Rezolution Pictures
  • Ernest Webb, Co-Founder, Director, Producer, Rezolution Pictures
  • Dr. William White, Visiting Distinguished Scholar, Center for American Studies Christopher Newport University
  • Rev. Dr. Joanne M. Braxton, Frances L. and Edwin L. Cummings Professor Emerita, College of William & Mary
  • Ric Murphy, National Vice President for History, Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society
  • Marcus Rediker, Distinguished Professor of Atlantic History at the University of Pittsburgh
  • Martha S. Jones, Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor, Professor of History at The Johns Hopkins University
  • Robert L. Woodson, Sr., Founder & President, Woodson Center

For more information, a full list of speakers or to register, visit

About the 2019 Commemoration
The 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution highlights events that occurred in Virginia in 1619 that continue to influence America today. Featured programs, events and legacy projects will position Virginia as a leader in education, tourism and economic development. American Evolution commemorates the ongoing journey toward the key ideals of democracy, diversity and opportunity. Dominion Energy is an American Evolution Founding Partner and Altria Group and TowneBank are Virginia Colony Partners.

For more information about the American Evolution’s 2019 upcoming events, programs and educational initiatives, visit:


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